Sunday, October 20, 2013

New England Baked Bean Suppah (on the quick!)

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: As I think we've determined in previous posts about food or Sunday recipe shares, I am all about the quick and convenient when it comes to cooking. If it takes more than 20-30 minutes prep time, I'm more likely to say, "The heck with it," and buy a rotisserie chicken at the Hanneford. Which is why I love my cheater-cheater version of the traditional baked bean supper.

If you go to a Saturday night bean supper in Maine, you'll get baked beans, brown or corn bread, hot dogs (we like the red kind up here) slaw and a selection of old-fashioned baked desserts. There are lots of other variations: mac and cheese, green bean casserole, etc., but those are the basics. Making any of them from scratch is time consuming, to say the least. Of course, you can buy it all pre-made, but I prefer to actually put together some of it for the family. Here's how you can do it, too. As always, I tend to wing amounts, so adjust to feed your family.

Faked Beans:
2 to 4 large cans of white beans
1 onion, diced
1/4 to 1/2 lb. bacon, diced (easier to dice if it's semi-frozen.)
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
1/2 cup molassass
1/4 cup brown sugar
boiling water to cover beans.

Saute the onions and bacon in a large pot. Put everything else in and pour in boiling water to cover the beans. Lid them and let them simmer at a low boil while you make the rest of the supper.

Corny Corn Bread:
One box of that cheap-o corn bread mix
1/2 can of corn niblets

Mix the corn bread according to directions and add the niblets. Let it rest a few minutes, then spoon into muffin tin. Sling it in the oven following the box instructions. Told you this was a dead easy meal.

Hot dogs: Get Jordan's for that authentic Maine taste. Slaw: I get mine from the Hanneford.

Dessert! Dump Cake:
1 stick butter
1 box yellow or chocolate cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can shredded pineapple
1/2 bag of coconut flakes

Nuke the butter in a cup until it's melted. In a large rectangular cake pan, dump the pineapple, then the cherry pie filling. Spread 'em around evenly. Shake the cake mix over the fruits evenly. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix. Bake according to the mix directions. If you put it in when the corm muffins come out, it will be hot and gooey just in time for the end of the meal.

Serve while marveling that the Red Sox are going to the World Series!

Shaun Best/Reuters


  1. Yum . . . delicious-sounding, thank you for sharing . . . .
    Me, I like to cook and I don’t care how long or involved it is [as long as it comes out yummy in the end]. However, in deference to Julia’s “on the quick!” I’ve hunted up a couple of yummy suggestions that are quick and easy to put together.

    My grandmother’s favorite bean casserole:
    Mix together:
    One one-pound can of pork and beans
    One can kidney beans, drained
    One can chick peas [garbanzo beans], drained
    One-fourth cup chopped onion
    One-fourth cup molasses
    One-fourth teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    Two tablespoons prepared mustard
    Remove three frankfurters from a one-pound package; cut the remaining franks into small pieces and mix into the beans. Score the three whole franks and place on top of the casserole. Cover; bake at 375 for fifty-five minutes; uncover and continue baking for twenty more minutes.

    For dessert, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
    In an eight-inch square baking dish, mix together:
    One cup Bisquick
    One-half cup sugar
    Three tablespoons cocoa
    Stir in and blend well:
    One-half cup milk
    One teaspoon vanilla
    Over top of batter, evenly sprinkle
    One-half cup cocoa
    One-half cup sugar
    Pour one and two-thirds cups HOT water over this; bake at 350 for forty minutes or until top is firm.
    Cake will bake on top with rich chocolate sauce below.
    Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.
    To serve, scoop cake into bowls; top with the chocolate sauce.
    Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

  2. Julia, thanks for the Faked Bean recipe. I will definitely use it. I'll probably add dill pickle brine for part of the water like Auntie-Mom does. It adds a nice sweet-and-sour touch.

    I can't find any brown bread in Tucson. I'll have to make it, which probably means I won't. The Vermont Country Store probably wants $40 a can for it.

  3. mmmmmm, Julia, my kind of supper. In fact I love all home style church suppers. (though the red hot dogs look a tny bit radioactive!)

    Joan thanks for sharing your grandmother's recipes! It's fun just to read them.

    Reine, good luck with the brown bread. I never did like that stuff much so haven't looked in years...

  4. That dessert... it looks amazing. Got to try it.

    I make a cornbread from a recipe I cut a few years ago from the NY Times. It's what they serve at the East Coast Grill, a legendary restaurant in Cambridge (MA). It is more trouble, and I make it with fresh corn cut off the cob.

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups whole milk
    1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1/4 cup melted butter
    2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels.

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat up.

    2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, add the melted butter and the corn and stir together until just mixed.

    3. Remove the hot cast-iron pan from the oven and pour into it the batter, then give the pan a smack on the countertop to even it out. Return pan to oven and bake, approximately 1 hour, until the corn bread is browned on top and a toothpick or a thin knife inserted into the top comes out clean.

  5. YUM! The dessert sounds fabulous..trying it!

    (I am not a beans fan,though... I mean, I guess I might be if I tasted them, But i'm not going to do it. I will fill up on the corn bread, though.)

    There's a whole cookbook about using pre-made things and then gussying them up--you know that orzo salad you get at WHole Foods? If you add fresh basil and feta cheese (and leftover roasted corn if you have it) --it is amazing and tastes like it took hours.

    GO SOX!

  6. Julia, you are MY kind of cook!!! BTW, you can get a box of Jiffy cake mix at most supermarkets for about 95 cents! Just as good as the $$ kind! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

  7. By the way, dear Reds, you will enjoy my blog today on Dusty Hoffman!!! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

  8. Oooh, I thought I was the only one to doctor Jiffy cornbread mix. I have a go-to cookbook called Desperate Measures 90 Unintimidating Recipes for the Domestically Inept (doncha love the title?) and it inspired me to add scallions and gorgonzola to the cheapo mix. Yum. I serve that with his Patsy Cline Memorial I watch the Bosox...

  9. OK, I don't really cook that much. But when I find something good in a jar or a can, I like to pass it on, especially for other Mexican-food-starved males living on the east coast. MRS RENFRO makes a green chili salsa in a jar. Wow. Slop it on the reheated leftover chicken or pork, roll it up in a warmed tortilla (flour or corn), and you have an instant delicious meal. (Extra ten minutes: Roll them up and deep fry in oil for chimichangas.

    Those beans sound good.

  10. Thanks for the Faked Baked Beans recipe, Julia! Will have to give it a try. I'm afraid I make cornbread from scratch, a recipe from my friend Crescent Dragonwagon's Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread Book--Skillet Sizzled. It's made with buttermilk and baked in a cast iron skillet, and honestly, it's not that much harder than a mix.

    Our Texas sort-of chili cheat we had last night, in honor of the coldest night of the season so far. I brown a pound of groun grass-fed beef with a pound of ground turkey, add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, two 8 oz cans water, and the seasonings from Wick's Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Mix. (We leave out most of the red pepper packet.) We add two drained cans of kidney beans because we like beans in our chili, even though chili purists say it's a no-no. Cook until all the flavors are blended. Serve with grated cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, or whatever garnishes you like on your chili. Yum!

  11. Ro, you have made my day! I'm going to try to get a copy of that cookbook!!!! Thelma in Manhattan

  12. My favorite quick-meal cookbook is DESPERATION DINNERS: Home-cooked meals for frantic families in 20 minutes flat by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. I've had it since it came out in '97 and I still use it regularly. It has a pantry list that's become more-or-less automatic for me, with staples like boneless chicken breasts, center cut pork chops, pre-shredded cheese, minced garlic, etc. etc.

    Joan, your grandmother's bean casserole and pudding cake sound fantastic. Lucy, I agree with you - I love "church supper" cooking.

  13. Oh yes! Wick Fowler or Carroll Shelby chili seasoning. Once your chili is made you can have frito pie. Another yum. It is just chili dumped on top of fritos, with cheese and whatever else you like. Used to be at football games a frito pie was an individual bag of fritos, slit open, with chili ladled on. Perfect for a cool night.

  14. When I was pastor of the Casco (ME) Village Church, we'd do bean suppers with 8-10 different kinds of beans - navy beans, pea beans, jacobs cattle beans, beanpole beans, etc etc, (with maple syrup or ketchup or…the combinations were infinite) and then for variety, add in moose lasagna and desserts. In 30 years, I've never served another church with such imaginative bean bakers!

  15. …eek, not beanpole, beanHOLE

  16. I have another corn muffin for you from the South where we think we invented them.
    1 cup self-rising flour
    1/2 cup Wesson oil
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup cream style corn
    2 eggs

    1/2 of above recipe will fill 2 tins of petite muffin tins
    !/2 recipe will fill cornstick pan

    Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased pan and bake at 400' for 30 min.

    They are moist and melt in your mouth. When I make them for my women's clubs there are few to none left.

  17. Julia, I don't know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but I love the Yankee Magazine Church Supper Cookbook. It comes with wire binding. It's great for big gatherings of any kind.